Over a period of years, fire plagued the growth of the village, destroying the business section in 1906, the general store in 1923, between 70 and 80 buildings in 1925 and the creamery in 1935. Sadly, in 1954 a propane gas explosion destroyed the first building which had been built in the village.
In 1959, construction began on a $4-million refinery by Canadian Oil Companies Limited. With the completion of the plant, the economy of the village and district had greatly improved and a building boom occurred. In 1960, a natural gas processing plant was constructed, creating employment for many people.
WWII and After
Bowden was in the centre of a prosperous mixed farming area. Farm income was primarily from cattle and grain. The trend in that area then began to shift towards more livestock, especially cattle. Farm mechanization in the Bowden area was about average for the province except that the farmer's progress was above average. With the opening and establishment of the Canadian Oil Company's refinery and the sulphur extracting plant, 35 additional families moved into Bowden.
Present-Day Bowden - "Gateway to the Parkland"
Bowden is located in the County of Red Deer, in the Central Alberta parkland region. The area consists of agricultural cropland with rolling foothills of the prominent Rocky Mountains. Bowden has been steadily experiencing growth over the years. The town also takes pride in the cleanliness and aesthetics of its community. The Bowden area also features many recreational amenities such as a nine-hole golf course, fairgrounds and rodeo facilities.
The town of Bowden has a economy based on manufacturing, agriculture, natural gas and oil service and supply. Local industries include gas plants, a refinery, nurseries and greenhouses, trailer manufacturing, agricultural control panels, silos and equipment. Bowden is also home to a federal prison and the Bowden Pioneer Museum which features a variety of artifacts from the early pioneer days.